Chorus against MoS Katheria’s hate speech: ‘BJP eyeing UP polls’

Seeking to clarify his position, Katheria said, "I had not taken the name of any community."

Written by Ashutosh Bhardwaj | New Delhi | Updated: March 2, 2016 3:50 am
VHP meet, Katheria, BJP, politics, uttar pradesh, agra, vhp rally, bjp meet, news, india news, politics, congress Katheria at Parliament on Tuesday. (Express Photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

The Congress on Tuesday sought the resignation of HRD Minister of State Ram Shankar Katheria for participating in a condolence meeting in Agra where speakers equated Muslims to “demons” and warned of a “final battle”.

As first reported by The Indian Express, BJP’s Agra MP Katheria had said at Sunday’s event — to condole the murder of a VHP worker allegedly by Muslim youths — that “if we are required to take to the streets, we will come on the streets in thousands. Let anybody dare stop us”.

On Tuesday, seeking to clarify his position, Katheria said, “I had not taken the name of any community. I had said that the culprit who murdered the VHP worker should be given the death sentence. I had also said that the Hindu community should unite for their safety.”

Listen to audio here

But Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge alleged that Katheria’s comments were part of attempts to divide the country. “They speak whenever elections are nearing. They talk about dividing the country and not uniting. If they continue to speak like this, there will be repercussions across the country,” said Kharge.

Police, meanwhile, confirmed that three persons were booked on Tuesday for “inflammatory statements against the Muslim community”, including VHP Agra secretary Ashok Lavaniya and local BJP leader Kundanika Sharma.

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Lavaniya had called for the “final battle” while Sharma had said, “Raid them, wear burqas, but corner them. Behead ten heads for one head.”

On Ground Zero, however, the Sangh Parivar’s attempts to seek revenge for the “martyrdom” of Arun Mahaur, who ran a furniture shop in the Mantola area, is not quite going the way they want it to.

On Monday, local resident Sadiq Ansari opened the shop of his “close friend” to help “meet his pending commitments”. On Tuesday, representatives of the Mahaur community said they would “thwart any attempt by the BJP to trigger communal violence”. And local residents said Mahaur’s killing was the result of a quarrel and had nothing to do with “the cow angle”. Five Muslims youths were arrested for the killing.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Ansari said he opened Mahaur’s shop to deliver an order for a bed, a dressing table and a sofa set. The shop had been closed since Mahaur’s murder on February 25.

“I worked with Arun for over four decades. We were born in this same mohalla, learnt carpentry together and often undertook joint assignments. How can I let my friend down?” asked Ansari.

Given the high Muslim population in Mantola, Mahaur used to employ many from the community at his shop. “I joined him when I was just 10 years old and started learning carpentry. There was never a Hindu-Muslim feeling,” said Saleem Sheikh, a 23-year-old employee at Mahaur’s shop.

Speaking about the murder, local residents pointed fingers at main-accused Shahrukh, a resident of the Hindu-dominated Nala Teela Munnalal locality. In a version endorsed by local police, many said the killing may have been in response to a quarrel Shahrukh had with Mahaur a few days previously.

“We heard that Shahrukh had quarrelled with someone and declared that he would kill him. Shahrukh often used to display a katta and tamancha that he carried with him,” said Arun Rajput, who works in a shoe factory near Shahrukh’s home.

Rajput’s cousin Prabhu Dayal Mahaur described Shahrukh as a “hooligan”. “Shahrukh first quarrelled with another local resident Shyam Mahaur. When Arun intervened, Shahrukh threatened him. But no one thought this would end in murder,” said Mahaur.

Representatives of the Mahaur community said they were “unhappy” with the Sangh Parivar’s plans to hold a “kalash yatra” of the victim’s ashes across the state.

When contacted, Nand Lal Bharti, vice-president of Akhil Bharatiya Mahaur Samaj in UP, said, “The BJP wants to take political advantage of the murder because assembly elections are due in 2017. I live in Mantola, Arun was also born here. It’s a very sensitive area. Why don’t the BJP and RSS come and live here? They say they want to help his family, but what financial help have they provided? Let the BJP offer his widow a central government job. Arun was murdered and we want strict punishment for his killers. But when the accused have already been arrested, why are they indulging in this politics? This is a clear attempt to disturb the atmosphere here.”

Prabhu Dayal Mahaur said he suspected that the Sangh move may also be a ploy to “gather Dalit votes”.

“At the cremation, they created a drama and burnt an effigy of Islam. What’s this nonsense? We are holding a condolence meeting and you are doing this. What has the murder got to do with Islam?” he asked.

“They used him for their ends when he was alive, they are using him now when he is dead. MP Babu Lal recently gave us a cheque of Rs 10 lakh. It was given from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund but the MP made it seem as if it came from the BJP,” said Mahaur.

According to Ghule Sushil Chandrabhan, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Agra city, the FIR was filed based on a report submitted by Sub-Inspector Anil Kumar who said he was present during the meeting where the three accused delivered “objectionable speeches”.

“We will obtain video footage of the meeting to identity the others involved and act accordingly,” said Chandrabhan.

He added that the FIR was filed under IPC sections 295 (A) (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony).

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  1. A
    anonymous
    Mar 2, 2016 at 6:14 am
    I think today you have decided to create more hatred, but sorry ppl are not s like you, so just keep your mouth shut and do something productive. I hope this is not your daily job, if it is nobody can help.
    Reply
    1. A
      Aap
      Mar 2, 2016 at 2:22 am
      These black sheep call themselves representatives of Hinduism. But majority Hindus do not agree with them. Unfortunately PM has set a bad example that riots lead to election win. Its high time that we reject these people from spoiling image.
      Reply
      1. T
        Tiku
        Mar 4, 2016 at 3:25 am
        Unfortunately most of the bhakts are not intelligent enough to p school
        Reply
        1. M
          mumbai
          Mar 1, 2016 at 8:59 am
          This is hinduism.
          Reply
          1. A
            Archpagan
            Mar 2, 2016 at 7:10 am
            A bison is chasing away a tiger.
            Reply
            1. A
              Ateeq
              Mar 3, 2016 at 9:33 am
              All culprits are already arrested now. What exactly you want to Modi to do here Do you want Modi to tell to Police to release them or what?
              Reply
              1. B
                Bijan Mohanty
                Mar 2, 2016 at 3:38 pm
                After betraying the middle cl ried people with its EPF bomb, no body will vote for this party in UP, am,Kerala and Punjab elections. Gujarat will show the way.
                Reply
                1. B
                  Bijan Mohanty
                  Mar 1, 2016 at 12:53 pm
                  By his persistent silence, Narendra Modi is giving encouragement to all divisive forces who want to polarize the country on caste and religious lines. The nation has to decide whether the acts of religious incitement is seditious or not.
                  Reply
                  1. B
                    bitterhoney
                    Mar 2, 2016 at 2:25 am
                    Modiji need not speak as his party men are speaking his "MANN KI BAAT"
                    Reply
                    1. B
                      bitterhoney
                      Mar 2, 2016 at 2:29 am
                      jhooth bolna BJPee ka param kartavya hai. isi liye inko jhooth bolne mein saram nahi aati.
                      Reply
                      1. B
                        babu
                        Mar 2, 2016 at 3:15 am
                        I all ready spended my share of rs 50,000 which deposited in my account which modee brought bback from Swiss bank now i want Rs 50.000 more if you want my vote or bihar result is your new sri sri 109 now on
                        Reply
                        1. P
                          Pork Kabab
                          Mar 1, 2016 at 11:07 pm
                          Modi should strongly condemn killing of the Hindu gentleman. Nobody should be allowed to take the law in their hand.
                          Reply
                          1. M
                            manu
                            Mar 2, 2016 at 7:24 am
                            agree with you..modi must discuss the murder of this dalit hindu by minority in parliment...and lets see how many dalit sympothiser wil support him..
                            Reply
                            1. M
                              manu
                              Mar 2, 2016 at 7:21 am
                              if suicide of rohith with fake certificate of dalit can be a 24x7 news for media and politician ..y they are silent on murder of dalit hindu by minority comuntiy groiup in agra ..that is the questin to yoiu also..
                              Reply
                              1. M
                                manu
                                Mar 2, 2016 at 7:21 am
                                police aslo arested kamlesh tiwari ..they y violent protest all over india ? same way this leader also a dalit ..
                                Reply
                                1. M
                                  manu
                                  Mar 2, 2016 at 7:22 am
                                  wha..you loved when cattle thief was given 1 crore compensation..but same time want every one to keep silent when a dalit hindu was murdered by minority comunity man..y no compensation for dalit hindu ?
                                  Reply
                                  1. P
                                    Pulak Mukherjee
                                    Mar 2, 2016 at 2:16 am
                                    This is where the BJP has managed to bring us within a short period of Modi's rule! This is a perfect recipe for destroying secular, democratic, united India - far more dangerous than shouting slogans in JNU.
                                    Reply
                                    1. S
                                      Sudhakar Ravuri
                                      Mar 2, 2016 at 4:33 am
                                      Why was there no chorus against Malda violence, Azam Khan rants, AAP Muslim MLA rants, Owaisi rants and killings of RSS workers in Kerala? MSM is afraid to show anything negative on Muslims but is always eager to show negative news on Hindus. Shame!
                                      Reply
                                      1. S
                                        shiva
                                        Mar 2, 2016 at 3:38 am
                                        I want to say politely that MOS has just ask for punishment and asked people to protest.(i have listened the AUDIO)...he has said nothing like hate speech. And reason for protest is that SP government don't act against muslims specially when someone from VHP, RSS is involved. YES babulal has said something toatally unacceptable and he should be booked without delay but at same time murderers also be caught.BUT please INDAN EXPRESS be neutral..you are always seem to be anti BJP..I have been you reading u for last 7 years but now u r more anti BJP..I know Media should always be anti establishment to keep on toe...but sometime u go too far....thank you
                                        Reply
                                        1. K
                                          kj kj
                                          Mar 2, 2016 at 4:00 am
                                          THEY ARE ASKING FOR JUSTICE OF VHP LEADERS DEATH..NOTHING WRONG I THAT..HE WAS AN INDIAN CITIZEN WHO WAS KILLED BY INDIAN MUSLIMS...JUSTICE SHOULD BE SERVED
                                          Reply
                                          1. K
                                            kj kj
                                            Mar 2, 2016 at 4:01 am
                                            THEY ARE ASKING FOR JUSTICE OF VHP LEADERS DEATH..NOTHING WRONG I THAT..HE WAS AN INDIAN CITIZEN WHO WAS KILLED BY INDIAN MUSLIMS...JUSTICE SHOULD BE SERVED
                                            Reply
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